Sita above suspicion

Etat-srutwaa Shubham vaakyam

Pitaamahasameeritam

Ankenaadaaya Vydeheem

utpaata vibhaavasuhu (Sar. 118; Sl: 1)

Brahma’s words were receptive to all; They were auspicious. The lord of fire, Agnideva was so much pleased that he came out of the fire with Sita on his laps.

He pushed some of the pieces of wood and emerging with Sita came to stand near Sri Rama. He made over Sita to Rama. Sita herself was glowing brilliantly in a pinkish splendor like the rising sun; she was adorned by jewels of gold that had passed through the purificatory process of the precious metal, she was in a green sari of silk. The black curly hairs had enhanced her beautiful looks.

 

Mystic garland :

What was more was that to surprise all and to drive home her protestation of purity, the garlands of flowers she had worn had not faded with smoke with fire. She looked as divine and effulgent as before!

Agni made over such a blemishless Sita to Rama. As he did so, he said:

“Eshaa the Raama Vydehee

Paapamasyaam na vidyate,

Naiva vaachaa na manasaa

naiva budhyaa na chakshusaa,

Suvritaa vritaa shoundeera

na twaamatichaara ha.” (Sar. 110; Sl: 6)

“One devoted to practice of virtues!” said Agni to Sri Rama, “In your sacred spouse Vaidehi, there is no sin whatsoever. Conversationally, mentally, intellectually, or through the medium of sight, Sita endowed with the right character, has not transgressed your will nor has she sought the support of others.”

 

“Rama!” continued Agni, “when she was abducted by Ravana who had grown haughty with the attributes of strength and power, you were not by her side. In the asharma of the presence of others, she was humble and lacking in freedom. Ravana took her away to his palace and placed her in captivity. The terrible rakshasis with a horrible brain were protecting her. Even at that time, her mind had dissolved in you. She had looked upon you as the source of supreme protection. The rakshasis endeavoured to engender various desires in her. When they found, they could not change her mind through tortuous means, they threatened her. Despite these evil designs and pressure, this virtuous dame did not think of Ravana even once. Her innate mental core had completely merged in your thoughts.”

 

Personification of Purity

Continuing, Agni said:

“Vishuddhabhaavaam nishpaapaam

Pratigrihneeshwa Raaghava,

Na kinchidahidhaatavyayam

aham-ajnaapayaami the” (Sar: 118; Sl: 10)

“Raghava,” said Agni, “Sita’s mind is one of the paramountcy in purity. Without a shadow of doubt, sin is something unknown to her. She is bereft of it. So accept her with open hands. In this matter, it is my direction that you will not say anything against.

 

Rama pleased

As he heard Agni’s words that put everything about Sita beyond a modicum of doubt, Sri Rama righteous and virtually invincible in self-expression, felt very happy. He was overtaken by tears of joy. For a moment, he was speechless Then the repository of dharma and the effulgent one opened his lips and said to the great God of fire Agni:

“Avashyam trishu lokeshu

na Sita paapamarhati,

Deerghakaaloshitaa heeyam

Raavana-antaphure shubhaa.” (Sar: 18; Sl. 13)

“Sita”, said Rama, “is not sinful. She is purity paramount. But this test became necessary to provoke sacred feelings in all the three worlds. For, a long time, the pure frame was forced to stay in Ravana’s palace.”

 

Rama proceeded to defend his action:

“Baalishaha khalu Kaamaatmaa

Ramo Dasharataatmajaha,

Iti vakshyati maam santo

Jaanakeem-avishadhya hi” (Sar. 118; Sl: 14)

“If only I had accepted Sita without putting her to the test.” clarified Rama, “the protagonists of truth and virtue would have looked upon the son of Dasharata as one wedded to passion and ignorance.”

 

Sita beyond suspicion

“Ananya hridayaam bhaktaam

matchitta-parivartineem,

Ahamapyavagachhami

Mythileem Janakaatmajaam.” (Sar. 118; Sl: 15)

“I am perfectly aware.” asserted Sri Rama, “that Mythili had put her unwavering mind in me, that she had no thoughts whatsoever of others even for a moment and that she would act accordingly to my will.”

 

Ravana’s limitations

Rama confirms inviolability of Sita’s physical frame through his sure knowledge of Ravana’s incapacity to commit extreme sacrilege:-

“Imaamapi vishaalaaksheem

rakshitaam swena thejavaa,

Raaavano naativarteta

veelam-iva mahodadhihi.” (Sar. 118; Sl: 16)

“Just as the oceanic waters cannot transcend the territorial barriers of the coast. I am aware that the wide-eyed Sita who was armed with the effulgent power of self-protection as a “pativrata” (wife’s unflinching devotion to husband) was inviolable and Ravana was incapable of physical transgression.”

 

To herald her virtue to heavens

Rama explained why he did not dissuade Sita from falling into the fire:

“Pratyayaartham tu lokaanaam

trayaanaam satyasamshrayaha

Upekshe chaapi Vydeheem

pravishanteem hutaashanam.”

“In order to generate the true feeling of Sita’s supremacy of purity and sacredness,” said Rama, “I did not attempt to dissuade Sita from falling into the fire, as I am absolutely wedded to the principle of truth.”

 

For from committing any semblance of physical sacrilege, the wicked Ravana, according to Rama, was incapable of committing even a mental transgression, because she was equal to the effulgence of a raging fire and beyond the reach of others:

 

“Na hi shaktaha sadushtaatma

manasaa api Mythileem,

Pradharshayitumapraaptaam

deeptam-agni shikhaam-tva.”(Sar: 118; Sl. 18)

 

“Neyamarhati vyklaryam

Raavana-antaphure shubhaa,

Ananyaa hi mayaa Sitaa

Bhaaskarena prabhaa tathaa.” (Sar: 119; S1. 19)

 

“Despite the fact Sita was in a Ravana’s place,” said Rama, “She was not down with distortion of mind. Just as the Sun God’s rays are incessant, her thoughts of me were incessant. True to the impossibility of separating the rays from the Sun, there is no question of her being separated from me.”

 

Rama’s in Sita’s heart

“Sita always used to see my manifestation in her heart, She would never take notice of external disturbances.”

 

“In all the three worlds”, Rama asserted further, “the daughter of Janaka is so pure as to be worthy of worship, Just a man, who harps on commitment to character cannot sacrifice honour and frame, I cannot certainly giver her up.You, as protectors of the Universe, have been giving me words of comfort indeed. You have enormous amount of friendliness towards me. It is therefore my duty to heed your comforting counsels.”

 

Rama’s faith in Sita

It should not be forgotten that Rama being wedded to the kind of discipline known to all in Treta Yuga – in contradiction to Kali Yuga – was a hard task master of an uncompromising nature. He explains he deliberately did not prevent her from stepping into the fire, because he knew that Sita would emerge unscathed from the ravages of a conflagration that could not burn Sita’s body but which otherwise would have burned Rama’s mind in the face of an agonizing discipline!

 

Sri Rama has explained in to unmistaken terms that he had always believed Sita to be free from any kind of blemish associated with her mind, body or intellect. But the public criticism would have been too much for an invincible paragon of virtue and righteousness. That was the subtle reason behind his rejection of Sita

 

That Sita was above suspicion was implicit in the 17th sloka of 115th Sarga in Yuddha Kanda of “Ramayana”

“Praaaptachaarita sandehaa

mama pratimukhe stithaa,

Deepa netraaturasyeva

Pratikoolaasi me dhridam”

Here the most significant words (referred to earlier in the 10th chapter of this book) are:

“Netraaturasya deepa iva.

 

The jaundiced or sickly eyes cannot see light of oil lamp properly. In the same way, Sita was stricken by the optical disease that had spread among the people! But the implication here is that although the eye (of the public) has got a blurred vision, the light of the lamp remains the same – free from any kind of limitations of the onlooker’s vision!

 

In the same way (in Rama’s own words – netraaturasya deepa iva), while the public vision had become contaminated giving rise to a faulty look, Sita’s frame had remained as pure as the light of the lamp. That was Rama’s absolute faith in Sita being above suspicion. As I wrote these lines of comparison centering round Valmiki’s excellent analogy of the lamp light, a celestial phenomenon occurred: a bindu or speck of light came down and merged with the aksharas of light in clear visibility to the naked eye (at about 6 PM on March 1, 1992 at Bangalore)

 

Just as the ‘akshara’ is as opposed to ‘kshara’ as the indestructible one called the Brahman, so is Sita’s unsullied reputation like the ‘akshara’ – the immortal letter.

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